Monday, 21 January 2019

As Dalauppror says: 3 days to go...

... Until our Rebels and Patriots rules publish. My co-author and the project's lead, Michael, has been busy posting about the forthcoming rulebook on his blog which you can view HERE.

There's a Facebook group set up too - I'm told there are for several of my rulebooks although I don't hang out in them myself. But if that's your thing, you'll know how to find it!

As Michael says, thanks to everybody who has helped out with this rulebook, we've really appreciated your input. And if you have a copy on pre-order, I guess you will have the book in your grubby mitts in a few days' time.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fancy buying yourself a post-Christmas festive treat?

Well I usually end up doing so, and I suspect I'm not alone.

If you are going to treat yourself, I'd love it if you would consider pre-ordering one or other of these two:

The good news here is that, even if you buy now, the game won't be with you for a few weeks, so it's not obvious that you're buying your own Christmas gift. Splendid.

Of course, if you decide on something else instead, I won't go all grumpy on you... instead I shall say:


Thursday, 6 December 2018

For news and info on Rebels and Patriots

Even though I've been caught up trying to get one of my games off the ground (Battle Ravens), my co-author on Rebels and Patriots and all round Top Chap Michael has started posting info about our joint venture, publishing in January 2019 courtesy of Osprey.

Michael's taking up the reins on Rebels and Patriots, so please head over to his blog now and in the coming weeks to find out more about these rules:

Monday, 3 December 2018

Battle Ravens Kickstarter ends soon (6 December)

Let me start with an apology... I know I've been posting a lot more than I usually do about my new game; the reason is simple - unlike all of my other games to date, Battle Ravens is being funded through Kickstarter.

This means that the more people who come on board, the more bits and pieces will be added to the published game, that the game is actually produced rather than becoming a 'might have been', and Kickstarter backers get access to some nice additional goodies and a cheaper price than RRP too.

(And the more successful the Kickstarter is, the more likely I am to be able to get my other games published.)

So I hope you can understand why I've been a bit more active on here in the past few weeks.

The good news is that the Kickstarter has funded, meaning that Battle Ravens will be produced. It's currently due to ship in April 2019. More good news is that all Kickstarter backers get an extra army included in their pledge (a Scottish one - come and play at being MacBeth!), and various component upgrades have been made due to the number of backers we've had join us.

The bad news is that the Kickstarter ends very soon: 6 December, at 11am UK time. So if you're thinking of helping to fund the game, now is the time! You can do so HERE.

From my point of view as a designer, I know I'm never going to be able to retire on my royalties - especially from a board game - but I think I've made an enjoyable little game here and would like people to try it and have fun. Even better, your Kickstarter support helps to improve the game's components and you get to save a little bit of money AND grab yourself an extra army. Why, if you're so inclined, you can even pick yourself up a signed copy of my 1066 Wargamer's Guide by choosing the Brunanburh Pledge Level...

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Battle Ravens: Designer's Notes

Battle Ravens is currently on Kickstarter. 

You can pledge for the game by heading over to the campaign page HERE. It ends on 6 December.

I thought at least one of you might find it interesting to read my original designer's notes for Battle Ravens, to set the scene and tell you a bit more about why I've created YET ANOTHER game set in the early medieval period...

(And I've added a couple of photos to set the scene...)

A little over 950 years before I wrote these designer’s notes, plans were in place for two invasions of Anglo-Saxon England: Harald Hardrada’s Norwegian army was to land in the north, and William the Bastard’s Normans in the south. King Harold of England met with victory in the north, but death in the south. So ended Anglo-Saxon England, and shieldwall warfare gave way to the dominance of mounted knights. The battle ravens had flown from the British Isles.

Battle Ravens is my attempt to design a modern game that feels as though it could be played on a medieval gaming board with medieval playing pieces. It is not a game belonging to the tafl family, but this was my initial inspiration as I wanted to try something that allowed me to use my collection of wonderful tafl pieces; they were begging me to pull them out of their box and use them. This edition of Battle Ravens replaces my original tafl pieces with Peter Dennis’s evocative artwork.

I’d been working on a new shieldwall-based game for some time, and frequently visited the British Museum for inspiration from their Anglo-Saxon collection. But the game’s design and development accelerated after a superb trip to Stockholm and Uppsala to meet with a Swedish gaming friend. While there, we toured around the museums, and the beautifully rendered helmets, shield d├ęcor and other weaponry spurred me on to create Battle Ravens.

Shieldwall warfare did not involve a huge amount of manoeuvring, other than to ensure that your army’s battle line had no gaps. Skirmishers skirted around the line, taking opportunistic shots when they could, but battles were really won or lost in the dangerous scrum of the shieldwall, where brute force, measured aggression, a sturdy shield arm, and a little bit of good fortune were as vital as weapon skills. These are all incorporated into your limited choices of action each turn.

In addition to planning and strategic decisions, I wanted to include an element of chance – as the commander of your army, you decide where and in what strength your warriors’ onslaught occurs, but you will not know how well they fight until you roll your dice. Plans for each turn often change on the outcome of a dice roll (whether your own or that of your opponent), so the game is as much about reacting decisively to the changing tactical situation as it is to plotting a strategic plan over the duration of the battle.

The use of dice may seem very old-school to some gamers, and they would be absolutely correct: the number of dice found in Viking Age and medieval archaeological excavations demonstrates their use and popularity in this period, so they’re highly thematic in Battle Ravens.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bedford Besieged! Lion Rampant siege scenarios in WI 374

Here's a quick heads up that the December 2019 issue of Wargames Illustrated includes an article by me featuring ideas for gaming the many small actions that took place around besieged medieval castles. 

I chose to feature Bedford Castle as I used to work near the castle's site, but the article is relevant to any medieval siege. It suggests a simple way to link several themed scenarios, and I've been quite pleased with the way it turned out - I've wanted to do something about sieges for a while but hadn't figured out how.

Buy the magazine to find out more!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Battle Ravens has funded

Thanks if you have already come on board for the Battle Ravens Kickstarter campaign - it has now funded, so the game will definitely be produced.

The more backers we get, the more stretch goals will be unlocked, which improves the quality of the components and adds a few extras to the game.

If you'd like to join in - and I'd really appreciate your support as it will contribute to improving the game - you can do so on the Kickstarter page.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Yet another Arthurian warband

I've been sitting on an unpainted pile of 28mm Footsore/Musketeer (as was) miniatures for a good couple of years, so finally got up off of them and asked Top Painting Fellow Matt at Glenbrook Games to work his magic on them. They're fine miniatures and I wanted someone (not me) to do them justice!

I had a vivid idea of how I wanted them to look, and Matt has captured this perfectly. There's a general red, white, and black theme running through them; and I asked for entirely white shields as noted in contemporary poetry (whether accurate or not, it's pretty striking when you see the miniatures all lined up). 

Just the one photo shown here, courtesy of Matt, but I'll try to post some more soon.

There are enough miniatures to field the Arthurian Lion/Dragon Rampant warband featured elsewhere on this blog and in Wargames Illustrated, plus plenty to go round in games of Song of Arthur and Merlin, and most likely Saga. Next up, I need to work out if I can put together a Dux Bellorum army from them.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Battle Ravens rulebook

The Battle Ravens Kickstarter is currently running! VISIT THE CAMPAIGN HERE!

The campaign got off to a good start but has slowed down a bit now. If you're interested in the game I'd love it if you could come on board - if the target isn't reached by the end of the campaign, Battle Ravens won't be made. A few more backers will hopefully encourage more - it seems as though momentum is everything on a Kickstarter. I'm really proud of the game, so am hoping we pick up more supporters to make it happen...

Perhaps you would you like a preview of the Battle Ravens rulebook to help you decide? You can read a draft of it HERE.

The game comes with some excellent card playing pieces, but a few people have asked about using miniatures with it...

The answer is YES you can use bases of miniatures instead of the card stands provided, and very colourful it will look too.

If you look in the rulebook, you'll see that you need 39 models/bases per army. I'd suggest either singly based 28mm models, or a communal base of 15s, as the game board is quite large.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

My Battle Ravens Kickstarter is now live

The day has come … The Kickstarter campaign for my Battle Ravens board game is now live: CLICK HERE!

There’s plenty on this blog about the game, but the Kickstarter page has more info too (including a link to the rulebook and more images of the game’s artwork by Peter Dennis).

If it takes your fancy, please head over to the campaign and join us. I feel like I need all the support I can get on this game – it’s my first game being offered through Kickstarter rather than the traditional publishing method, and it’s also my first board game as opposed to a miniatures game, so I’m outside of my comfort zone. The success or otherwise of the Battle Ravens campaign might influence whether any of my other developed board games will see the light of day – so fingers crossed and thanks for your support!